I had an interesting conversation with my friend J at the weekend. It went like this:
ME: Do you ever narrate things in your head?
J: What do you mean?
ME: Well, I was watching the pigeons on the roof this morning and then a voice in my head started narrating the scene.
J: Sure, I have conversations in my head about things all the time.
ME: No, not a conversation in your head. I mean a voice narrating what you’re seeing, as if it’s being read from a book… “The pigeon hopped away in disgust and ruffled its feathers, etc” Do you ever do that sort of thing?
J: Er, no, I don’t. [Looks at me strangely] That’s why you’re a writer and I’m not.
This narrator is so much a part of me, I’ve never really thought much about it before. It bursts into life with no warning, narrates the scene before my eyes, and then goes quiet again. Sometimes I write the words down but usually I don’t. Mainly because the voice is so familiar, it has never occurred to me to pay much attention to what it’s actually saying.
And weirdly, I have also never thought to ask anyone whether they have a narrator in their head too. It turns out, not everyone does.
This is news to me. And I’m curious.
If you’re a writer (or not), have you ever experienced this narrator in your head? And if you have, do you ever do anything with what it says?